A hard-working Riverside County sheriff’s canine that spent five years tracking suspects, searching for lost hikers and performing other duties day and night succumbed to an illness Thursday, despite efforts by veterinary staff in Murrieta to save her.
“Windy,” a bloodhound based in the southwest area of the county, began suffering complications from a lung infection earlier this month and was retired from the sheriff’s department, then placed under the care of doctors at California Veterinary Specialists.
She was receiving round-the-clock treatment, but veterinarians were unable to save her.
“Windy served this community … and trailed countless miles throughout Riverside County in search of missing persons, lost hikers and fleeing felons,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “K9 Windy was great at her job, and with 50 documented finds and numerous investigative leads located, she had developed a reputation throughout the Inland Empire and surrounding law enforcement agencies as an excellent working dog for locating those who are missing and those who are hiding.”
Windy was added to the sheriff’s K9 team in 2014, joining more than two-dozen other dogs and their handlers.
She was assigned to Deputy Robert Ochoa, and the two spent countless hours training and conducting searches.
“Every stressful situation her handler entered, Windy went into first,” according to the sheriff’s department. “She faced the same dangers her handler did, before he did, to ultimately keep her handler and his partners safe. She spent more time with her handler than her handler spent with his family. This bond and understanding of the way Windy thinks and feels makes the loss of a service dog so much more difficult for her handler.”